In a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer) beat butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy. In another bowl, stir together the baking soda and hot water until baking soda is dissolved. Stir in the molasses.
In a third bowl, whisk together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and salt. Add a third of the flour and molasses to the butter mixture, and mix well. Add half of the remaining flour and molasses, and then finally the last of the flour and molasses. Then add the maple extract and mix well.
Cover the cookie dough and let it firm up in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat baking mats. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly flour a clean surface and roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick. (I didn't roll out all the dough at once. I broke it up into about three or four sections.) The key to rolling out the dough and keeping it firm enough to lift your shapes is to keep it cold. Put the dough back in the fridge or freezer when you need to.
Cut out the shapes and transfer them to the prepared baking sheets, leaving about half an inch between them. (These cookies don't spread out very much.) Bake for about 10 minutes (this will vary depending on the size of your cookies), let the cookies cool for 5-10 minutes and transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat until you've used all your cookie dough! This recipe makes a ton. Decorate and enjoy!